AURANGABAD CAVES

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Location: Aurangabad, Maharashtra
Architecture: Influenced By Tantric Buddhism
Excavated During: 2nd and 6th Century
Best Time TO Visit:Lord Shiva temple

Aurangabad caves are located outside the city of Aurangabad just few kilometres away from the famous monument Bibi Ka Maqbara. These caves were excavated between the 2nd and 6th century AD. These caves are carved out of the hillside and are a fine piece of architecture, housing the most stunningly intricate carvings.

In total there are twelve caves, a major chunk of which are Viharas, of which Caves 3 and 7, are the most fascinating. Caves 1 to 5 are in the western group and caves 6 to 10 are about 1-km away in the eastern group. One can see that Tantric influences discerned in their architecture and iconography.

Western Group Caves

Aurangabad Caves in MaharashtraAll the caves are Viharas, except for cave 4, which is the oldest cave, a Hinayana Chaitya with a ridged roof like the Karla Cave near Lonavala and there is a stupa in front of it, now partially collapsed. Cave 3 is supported by 12 finely carved columns, and sports sculptures portraying scenes from the Jataka tales.

Eastern Group Caves

One can see in cave 6 the sculptures of women, which are notable for their exotic hairstyles and ornamentation and one can notice that these sculptures are still intact after so many decades. There is a large Buddha figure and an idol of Ganesh located in this cave.

Cave 7 is the most interesting of the Aurangabad caves, particularly for its sculptures - the figures of women scantily clad and ornately bejewelled are indicative of the rise of Tantric Buddhism during this period. To the left of Cave 7 is a huge Bodhisattva praying for deliverance from the 8 dangers, fire, the sword of the enemy, chains, shipwreck, lions, snakes, mad elephant and demon (representing death).

HOW TO GET THERE

Aurangabad Caves in MaharashtraAir: The nearest airport is Aurangabad .

Rail: Aurangabad has a railway station.

Road: Aurangabad being a major city of Maharashtra is well connected by road with all other places in the state. Tourists can get down at Aurangabad and take a taxi or auto-rickshaw to reach these caves.

WHERE TO STAY

Accommodation is available at the various hotels at Aurangabad.



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